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Jul 9, 2008 07:29 PM

Bobby's Burger Palace (Flay's new chain) opens

Was driving by the Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove tonight and noticed that the long-under-construction Bobby's Burger Palace looked like it actually might be open. Went back with my wife and daughter and found out that it had, in fact, opened just this evening. There were about eight other customers at 6 p.m. as it definitely seemed to be a "soft" opening - no "grand opening" signs or anything similar. The line grew as we ate.

Bobby himself was behind the s-shaped counter that stretches the length of the restaurant, doing quality control and chatting with customers. The setup is that you order and pay at the stand up front, get your drinks and head to one of the four-tops, six-tops, or the long, curving counter, and they deliver your food when it's ready. Decor was modern and pleasing. Menu was reasonably creative, 10 different burger topping combinations that you can get with an Angus beef patty, ground turkey burger, or chicken breast. You can also get a "griddled cheese" regular or deluxe (deluxe has brie, goat cheese, tomato and bacon), and a "crunch" salad with tortilla chips. Of course, you can also get fries, onion rings, shakes and malteds, as well as a menu item called "hot potato chips with blue cheese sauce."

The burgers (cooked medium only) looked like 1/3 pounders, and were all $7.50, with the exception of the basic cheeseburger, which was $6.50. I had the "Santa Fe Burger," which was supposed to have queso sauce, roasted green chilies, and crumbled tortilla chips, but came out with jalapenos instead of chilies. My wife had the "Bobby Blue Burger," topped with blue cheese, bacon, lettuce, and tomato. Other choices include the "Buffalo" (redhot sauce and blue cheese) and the "Miami" (pressed with ham, swiss, pickles, mustard and mayo).

Both burgers were hot, tasty, and juicy, well seasoned and pink in the middle, served on a soft potato roll. There was a rack of condiments that included squeeze bottles of chipotle and regular ketchup, yellow mustard, a "burger sauce" that looked like steak sauce, and jalapeno hot sauce. I liked the chipotle ketchup and jalapeno sauce. Our fries came with a dipping sauce that seemed to be mayo and chipotle or chili powder. Onion rings were huge and beer-battered, but you only get four for $3. Fries were $2.50 for a big cone full of crinkle-cuts, and the shakes were $5.

Overall, we really liked the burgers, although they seemed a bit small for the price (they were bigger than a Shake Shack burger, but not much). The fries and rings were also enjoyable. Total for two burgers, fries, rings, one Boylan's Orange soda, one coke, and one Dundee Honey Brown Ale was $30. The staff was very friendly, and it was cool to see Bobby there and seeming to be very interested in the quality of the food going out. I contemplated going up to him and challenging him to a burger throwdown, but thought better of it.

On the way out, I noticed they also have frozen margaritas for $4.50. Next time, as we'll definitely go back.

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  1. "The burgers (cooked medium only)" (in other words medium well)

    Instant disqualification to ever be considered a great burger joint.

    16 Replies
    1. re: byrd

      I would never buy a burger cooked medium.

      1. re: dolores

        If I go to burger joint I always ask up front if they will cook rare. If they say yes, then I order medium-rare.
        I have less respect for Bobby Flay than ever now that I hear that he actually *encourages* medium. That shows some type of ignorance. I went to Mesa grill a few times when it first opened and loved the food (hate the decor though.) Then fame and especially money got the best of him.

        1. re: jimpeggy

          All the burgers have an asterik next to them on the menu and it says can be cooked to order. I find it hilarious how quick people are to bash this guy. Anyone who knows anything about the food world knows that he's won awards for his generosity and time that he contributes to young cooks and drawing attention to local eateries. Some people just can't appreciate him because he's on television.

          1. re: jhopp217

            Winning awards for generosity and volunteering, does not a good chef make. I've eaten at more than one Bobby Flay restaurant and I have always been underwhelmed. However, I do like some of the recipes he makes on his various shows.

            1. re: HungryRubia

              I'm witcha on Mr. Flay. Let's just say, he's no Eric Ripert.

              1. re: Clambelly

                He's not trying to be Eric Ripert. who can?

          2. re: jimpeggy

            ive nevr reakly like flays food, but i can say i have met hin on a few occasions and he is genrally humble nice noraml chap

            1. re: jimpeggy

              isn't there some kind of law against any chopped meat being served less than at least medium-well since the whole e-coli scare?

              1. re: betsydiver

                No, though warnings must be given (usually printed on the menu).

                1. re: Scott_R

                  YOu can get a rare burger at any pub or restaurant. NO such law. It's the source of the meat, and the handling of the meat. 5Guys will not respond when they were asked why they only cook well done, but it's a sure bet that they don't trust their employee's handling methods...

                  1. re: menton1

                    I doubt it's the employee's handling they're worried about entirely. Feedlot beef, the way it's raised and processed, is very likely to arrive with plenty of pathogens to worry about at lower temps even before handling. I wouldn't order a less than well done burger anywhere on a dare. I cook to medium when I grind my own at home.

                    1. re: mcf

                      Well, I get rare whenever possible, and I'm still going strong. Even get steak tartare on occasion at better restaurants. Well done? To me that's a waste of a good burger...

                      1. re: menton1

                        I can deal with well done burgers, but not any other meat. And I prefer med rare to rare as a rule with others.

                    2. re: menton1

                      Menton: I sent an email about this to 5G; strangely enough, rather than replying directly they forwarded it to the manager of the local franchise (where I'd gone), and he sent me a nasty email in response.

                      As if I needed another reason not to go there.

                      1. re: Scott_R

                        They won't give an answer to the major media, so don't expect one via email...

                        Get thyself to a's apart. A nice burger.

            2. re: byrd

              We ate at the NJ BBP tonight. We always ask if they will cook rare if they state medium is their standard. The cashier said they will honor customer's requests. We ordered two rare basic burgers. It did take about 5 minutes to get a table and another 10 to be served. This outlet is about 2 weeks old and they may not have their rhythm yet. The burgers arrived absolutely rare (red in very center) and were very good. The (yes, pricey) dark chocolate shake was spectacular, ice cream, not air. My husband liked the onion rings. They do serve any burger on a salad of greens which is a plus. Service, by the way is EXCEPTIONAL. We would do it again.

            3. Dude, jalapeƱos *are* chiles (a spelling variant of chili); the word is simply used generically to refer to the hotter variants of the fruit of the Capsicum plant (bell pepper is in the Capsicum genus, but isn't referred to as a chili pepper). Chili sauce could mean it's made with jalapeƱo, poblano, habanero, etc.

              4 Replies
              1. re: Scott_R

                C'mon, Scott. A "Santa Fe" burger? Home of the famous green chile cheeseburger? If it says "roasted green chiles" on the menu, I'm certainly not expecting to see a few rings of pickled jalapeno on top of my burger instead of chopped green chile. I know jalapenos are chile peppers, gimme a break.

                1. re: Lono37

                  so what kind of chile is traditionally on a "santa fe" burger? (sorry, just never heard of a santa fe burger)

                  Hatch chiles, I'm guessing? If so, I've never seen them available out here. Maybe jalapenos aren't too bad of a substitute given similar heat levels? Poblanos and anaheims are way too mild, I'd think.

                  1. re: adamclyde

                    "Santa Fe burger" is just Flay's name for what is widely known as a "green chile cheeseburger" in New Mexico and other parts of the southwest. Typically roasted diced green chilies, Hatch or Big Jims, etc. on top of or beneath the cheese of a cheeseburger.

                2. re: Scott_R

                  "dude"......most southwesterners, and most all texans, separate out jalapenos and mean other chili peppers when refrring to raosted green chilis, which for me, coming from texas and new mexico, would mean poblano, anaheim, big jim, etc.

                3. i hadn't heard about this.if he's looking to expand,i wouldn't mind a place in nassau of some kind.rockville centre has a couple of vacant spots at the moment.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: davmar77

                    I'm hoping for Roosevelt Field or The Source...more Simon properties.

                    1. re: GCGuy

                      If anyone opened an operation described above without Bobby Flay's name plastered all over (nothing against Bobby Flay, he's a very talented individual) on Long Island it will last six to nine months, especially if you're paying mall rental prices. With Bobby Flay's name it will last a couple of years, depending on how big a tax write-off he needs.

                  2. I think cooking burgers to medium is fine. A steak often loses tenderness if cooked that much, but 80% lean ground meat doesn't really have that problem, especially considering that it can be seasoned all the way through. If it's good enough for White Manna and Shake Shack, it's good enough for me. Flay's place looks pretty good, although I might not bother with the "upscale" extras.

                    1. Tried it - wil return to Five Guys Hamburgers in Levitown and wait for outlet in Smithtown. Burgers were on small side, well done, and overly salted. No choice on preparation of burger. Fries good for frozen crinkle cuts. Crunchburger was a cheeseburger with potato chips embedded in the cheese. Anyone other than Flay wouldn't last the year. Hype will drive them in but nothing there to keep them. Just what LI needed - the McFlay burger. This could be his first humbling experience.